Monday, December 29, 2008

Finding Nemo!

Today we went to the aquarium. My friend from Langebaan, Cathy and her daughter Tamsyn were in Town today so we took all the girls to the aquarium. It is Tamsyn's 7th birthday today so it was a special treat for her.

It was really busy. No I mean REALLY busy, I haven't seen so many tourists in one place in a long time!! Anyway, we made it back in one piece and with all 3 children in our possession so I suppose it wasn't too bad!

A great attraction as you come in is the "Nemo" tank, there is a little bubble in the middle that the children can climb into from underneath and be "inside" the tank, it is quite fun.

"okay, which one is Nemo?"!

"Oh, there he is!!!"

The other all-time-favourite is the shark tank.

One fish in the shark tank had some serious bite marks! Poor thing, almost ended up as lunch.
We also made our way through the penguins, frogs, kelp tank etc. etc. but keeping track of Niave is such a task that I wasn't always able to take pictures. She doesn't stay still for very long!

Finally we headed down to the activity centre where the kids could paint little hessian bags - for free!! (last time they got to paint a t-shirt for free!!) this ended up being the best part for me because it was the least crowded area and the girls loved the fabric painting. Tamsyn is quite an artist.

Niave however, painted 2 black spots on hers and then made a bee-line for a submarine ride-on toy that she kind of claimed as her own! She sat in there for about 15 - 20 minutes! Then another little boy came along who wanted a turn, she screamed blue murder when I took her out!!! As only Niave can scream! It's one thing when she does it at home but in a public place it's a whole different story. We got lots of stares and some laughs!! Anyway, she soon got over it and was smiling again.

(Another time she let out an ear-piercing holler was when they took her juice away from her at the entrance. No eating or drinking is allowed. They are VERY strict on that one let me tell you, they were not in the least put off by Niaves (very loud) protests!)

Next time we'll make sure not to have "Aquarium" on our list of December holiday outings! It will have to be April, June or September for us! (and we'll take hidden juice!!!) My advice if you are planning to visit the aquarium is - "go early"!

Well, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TAMSYN! We hope you had a good day.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day.

After a not so-good-night with children waking nearly every half hour between 2 and 5 a.m, Abigail woke just before 7, very eager to skip down to the lounge to see if there were any presents under the tree!

Once we were all up we settled in for some present opening. Abigail wasted no time! A seasoned pro!! Niave was a little anxious, she doesn't understand this whole Father Christmas thing and thought that he was going to be inside the present!! When she realised that he was not she started opening some of her gifts.
Abigail was very happy to have received a pair of Rollerblades (no, we have not learnt our lesson) and Niave was beaming when she unwrapped a wooden train set.

Abigail also got this sweet puppet theatre which she just loved at the shop (Nucleus Toys - if you haven't been there - go!) it has been an absolute hit, she just loves making up the stories.

Then it was time to get ready for church. After church we went to my parents for lunch -or should I say feast!!And lets not forget the trifle! This being the sole reason why we have Christmas lunch in the first place - to get to the trifle!!

By 6 o' clock Niave was very ready for her bath and her bed. Peacefully asleep after a very busy day.


Now, in October or so I saw a display of Worm Factory's at a local shopping centre.
I immediately thought it would be something my parents would/could make use of as they are both keen gardeners. So, I hatched a plan!! After conferring with my brother and sister, we decided to do a combined gift of a worm factory for the folks for Christmas. This involved money transfers from overseas - no mean feat let me assure you and a lot of clandestine emailing and ordering and storing etc. Not to mention stopping 2 excited children from announcing to their grandparents that "we have worms in our house"! Also no mean feat!

Today was the day of the big reveal!!

At first there were just confused expressions...
...a curious glance or two...

...and then the dawning realisation - " oh! a worm factory"!!

And here are the "red wrigglers" as they are called - not just common earthworms - no, no, these are factory worms! They are quite shy so all you can see is the lettuce!

I have heard that it is now all set up and the worms are in their new home so there will have to be a worm sequel!

Well, that was our day, I hope you too have had a happy and blessed Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

We had a fairly quiet day today that started quite early!
A few years ago I learnt (the hard way) that Pick 'n Pay opens at 7 a.m on Christmas Eve.
So I got up bright and early to head off for some of the fresh things I needed for tomorrow.
Well, at 8 a.m this morning the car park at Constantia Village was FULL! I did manage to find a spot without too much trouble:-) Inside it was a nightmare - you'd think the shop was going to be closed down the way people were buying (so much for the cash crunch!) the chicken must have flown(ha ha!) off the racks because by the time we got there it was all but gone. Anyway, we got away at about 8:45 with most of what I needed and were home by 9. Phew, all shopping out of the way - hooray! I love to shop but this week the shops have been ridiculous!

Then it was down to the usual chores until some guests arrived bearing early gifts.
We decided to let the girls go ahead and open them as Christmas day can be quite overwhelming with so many gifts especially seeing as we have a lot of Grandparents in our family!!

Grant was given a great chair by his Dad. It is a reclining outdoor chair but it works quite well for him and will also be much easier, in some situations, than the wheelchair.
Not forgetting the all-important cup holder!!

Niave retired at about 7 and Abigail and I went off to fetch Grants present at my parents house - long story!!

Abs was given a super game by Grants Dad called "Supermarket", so we had to have a go at that, she retired at 9:15 but only after leaving some milk and biscuits for Father Christmas and some apples for the reindeer!! This is something that I've never made a big deal of but somehow, through the media I suppose, she has picked up that this is the done thing! Anyway, it was quite sweet how she wanted 8 slices of apple to make sure no reindeer went without!

Once she was in bed asleep I could start roasting my chicken (my contribution to Christmas lunch) and haul out the presents that have been stashed in cupboards!!Now it is off to bed for me as we have an early start tomorrow! Goodnight!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gramps' birthday.

Today was Gramps' birthday. We popped around for tea and cake and to say "Happy Birthday"!

Whenever we visit there Niave is very interested in the "exotic" pets that are to be found in the garden - namely "Torti" - the tortoise and "Georgie" - the budgie!

She tried to get Torti to eat a bunch of Hydrangea's but he was having none of it!

Then she had a chat to Georgie who got very excited and frightened her away!

This picture is specially for Wendy - a birthday picture of your Mom and Dad!
Okay get the tissues now!!

Happy Birthday Gramps, we hope you enjoyed your day.

The Christmas Tree.

Today we (finally) set up our Christmas tree. I know, I know it's a bit late. You see we were undecided about whether we were going to go with the usual "real" tree or a "fake" one.
E-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y we decided to get a fake one from Pick 'n Pay!
The girls did most of the decorating so it is pretty laden, there was just no way we were going to be allowed to leave unused decorations in the box!!

The tree!

And the "Knitivity" (!) made by my Mom.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A visit to the Clay Cafe.

Today we took a drive to Hout Bay.
It was a trip down memory lane for me, I always love to see what has changed and what has stayed the same in the last 3 years.
Anyway, the reason for heading that way was to visit the Clay Cafe.
I, despite having worked in Hout Bay for 6 years, had never been there before.
The idea is you choose a piece of pottery and paints etc. and paint it with your own designs.
It's a lot of fun and quite therapeutic, I could easily have painted all day!!
Then they glaze and fire your items for you and you get to collect them a couple of weeks later.
I suggested that they choose a "functional" or "useful" item and (fortunately!) they all seemed to agree with me!

Abigail painted a star design on her bowl.

(She's going to need a lot of cereal to fill that bowl at breakfast time!!)

Niave loved the painting and was so proud of her bowl, funnily enough she chose a "Chinese rice bowl" - quite an appropriate choice seeing as she would quite happily eat noodles for breakfast, lunch and supper! I was quite surprised at how well she behaved, I wasn't quite sure if I was doing the right thing by taking her with us - I had visions of pieces of bisque flying off the shelves, but she was very calm and seemed to understand the whole process! and of course she loves painting with water to rinse the brush off - just up her street!

Abigail's friend, Kelsey came along, she chose an Espresso cup and saucer! I'll have to warn her parents they might be in for some late nights!!

I painted a plate. My designs always come out skew but hey, I enjoyed myself!

The colours are a lot brighter after the glazing and firing is finished.

All in all it was a fun morning and one I will definitely do again.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More slippy slide!

Yesterday we had more fun on the slippy slide. Summer has finally arrived and although it is rather windy, it is also rather hot!

Abigail goes at quite a speed these days!

Niave has finally got the "sliding" idea but only makes it about halfway up the slide!!

Even Dad got in on the action!! No sliding for him though!

Bubbles - always a firm favourite with my kids. Niave usually pours hers out not long after she's got them and then spends the rest of the time asking for "more bubbles"!!

The evening was ended off with a braai which would have been great if Niave had not nearly set my parents house on fire! She turned on all the plates and the oven of my Mom's stove/hob shortly before we left to go home. My mom had brought in some dishes from outside and put them on top of the hob (which was supposed to be off) covered with a cloth to keep the flies away.

When they got back inside from seeing us off, the lights had tripped and the whole house was filled with acrid smoke from the smouldering nylon cloth. Fortunately when the electricity tripped the stove was switched off otherwise it could have had disastrous results.

Needless to say she was not the most popular grandchild in the family last night!!

We managed to get through today without any hazardous events - probably because she slept for 3 hours this afternoon!!

Niaves "not-a-concert"!

On Friday it was Niaves (and my!) last day of school. That meant it was the day of the "not-a- concert" which is what I've taken to calling the end of year sing-song event at Little Plum Tree Playschool!!

At the age of 2 and 3 they are just not ready for dressing up in costumes and putting on a 3 act show and also you just don't know how they are going to react on the day. Most times they sing beautifully during school but on the day they are so overwhelmed by all the faces looking at them that I end up doing a few solo's!!

Anyway, this year it was Niaves turn to take part. She was so looking forward to it but when the time came she did pretty much everything but sing!!

Here she is getting up to all sorts of mischief!!

By next year she may have a better idea of what it's all about.

Thank you to Lisa for taking photo's, as I was wearing my teacher hat and not my mommy hat I wasn't able to take pictures. Lisa, after having had NO sleep the night before because of a sewing project, came along to take pictures of all the children for me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Marley is 1!

Today was Marley's 1st birthday. He is the only boy cousin/grandchild in the family.
He is a gorgeous little guy with the most stunning eyes - the bluest blue!

Here are some pictures of the party:
"The Cake"

"The Friends"

"The presents"

"The balloons"

He LOVED the balloons!!

After a while the birthday boy was worn out and had to retire to bed!!

(Niave was also worn out and fell asleep in the car on the way home.)


Uncle Willie's

On Monday night we went to "Uncle Willie's" Christmas Party.

We used to go to "Uncle Paul's" when we were kids but it was known in our family as "The Hayride"!! I have no idea why! Anyway, we never really got it together to go with our kids until this year when "Aunty Lisa" invited us along.

It brought back memories because basically, if you've been to either Uncle Willie's or Uncle Paul's anytime in the last 30 years it's exactly the same!

"now" and "then"
As you can see, not much has changed apart from the fashions (Cool socks Bev!!)

Back to Monday night, we started out with a tractor ride which was very bumpy and very exciting all at the same time!!!
Then we arrived at the castle and the hay fight started!!

Not everyone thought it was fun!

The kids were entertained by Uncle Willie, The Band and Noddy. The children were allowed to try out the instruments and some of the parents "volunteered" to play Jingle Bells!! Then the band took us for a march around the field.

After some carol singing, ice creams, snacks and cool drinks it was time for Father Christmas to arrive! The children have to "blow out" all the lights and wait for the sleigh bells and then he appears on the roof of the castle. There is also a fairy who comes and hands out sweets.

Abigail was very tired by the time the presents were being handed out and was getting a bit impatient! Finally her name was called and she went up to receive her gift.
The rules of the party are that only children aged between 3 and 8 may receive gifts, that meant that Niave wouldn't be allowed to receive her own gift from Father Christmas. So I wrapped up 2 separate gifts inside 1 gift (if that makes sense!). When Abigail took the first layer of paper off there were 2 presents inside, 1 for her and 1 for Niave. They both got crayons, koki's and pencil crayons because during the last week or so we discovered that almost every koki pen in the house is dry and there was a serious shortage of drawing equipment in general. (Father Christmas must have been flying over when we had that conversation because they are now very well stocked and have been drawing at every spare moment of the day!!)

We got home at 10:30pm!! Niave had slept in the afternoon so she was remarkably fine but Abigail, who does not deal well with being tired and refuses to admit to being tired(!) was very ready for bed. Both were out like a light as soon as their heads hit their pillows.

When they woke up the next morning there was much retelling of all that had happened and of course the drawing frenzy began!!